Ransomware Protection: Don't let hackers take down your business

The security of your business is an important factor when it comes to growth and success. We regularly see companies hitting the headlines for experiencing cyber-attacks – being held to ransom, significant downtime and malicious intrusions. They’re often forced to cough up cash with the promise their systems will be fixed, or they’ll get their precious data back. When you think of growth and success, security might seem like an afterthought, but think about how much money these companies lose, how much their reputations will suffer. We sit back wiping our foreheads thinking ‘thank god it wasn’t me’. But how many people still do nothing to protect themselves further from these destructive attacks?

Recently, WhatsApp launched a new update to their smart phone application, but little did they know it opened a security hole that gave hackers the opportunity to strike. This “encryption backdoor” allowed hackers to infiltrate supposedly encrypted messages. Given that WhatsApp was purchased by Mark Zuckerberg for a casual 19 billion dollars in 2014 (I know… an astonishing amount), who boasts of the end-to-end encryption of both WhatsApp and Messenger, it would be more secure.

But it’s more than just silly GIFs and naughty texts that could be made public through the hacks. How many people exchange bank details over WhatsApp? Although it’s never recommended, I’ve got a hunch people will still do it; likewise with other confidential information. Whether that shared information is personal or work related, the potential risk is huge when you consider there are over 1.2 billion active users (a big increase from 700 million users in January 2015).

Recently it also emerged that Xbox and PlayStation’s gaming networks were hacked. Across both platforms, there were 2.5 million account details hacked, which is a sizable chunk considering Xbox’s user base is around 48 million users. Although the initial hack, which took place on unofficial ISO forums of both gaming networks, happened in September 2015, it looks like user details are being sold on the Dark Web.

It’s a natural assumption that the hack is the fault of the companies. But most successful cyber-attacks can be attributed to end-user human error. Is there anything that the users can do to prevent this from happening? A key element of this breach, which isn’t just specific to the gaming industry, is the use of usernames and passwords.

“Breach after breach has shown that using the same username and password for multiple sites is a bad idea” said security expert Jonathan Sander of Lieberman Software. “If the Xbox and PSP crew haven’t learned that they can’t use the same email and password on every service by now, then likely it is game over for their personal data.”

 Bearing in mind that the UK gaming industry is worth around £4.2bn, the key message is that nobody is safe from attacks. Regardless of commercial dominance or industry, it’s not feasible to ignore cyber-security, or treat it as an afterthought in your business.

It comes back to that familiar adage; how long can you go till you’re a victim? What can you do to protect your business?

A lot of security breaches are the result of human error. Whether it’s the download of Ransomware or another malicious malware, often it’s down to an individual clicking a link or downloading a questionable document. Educating your staff is hugely important to the security of your business, but sometimes it’s not enough. Products like Sophos Intercept X are designed to not only prevent viruses, but remove them should someone make that mistake. Sophos’ patented security CryptoGuard prevents the encryption of files before it even happens. It’s prudent to use traditional anti-virus as your base layer of security, but with ever advancing cyber-security threats, you need the next generation of security to keep your business safe.

Join us at Futuretech North, and find out how you can give your staff the security they need with Sophos Intercept X to avoid any attacks.